Celebrating 20 Years of Disaster Relief Efforts Through the HEART Fund

WMU and the WMU Foundation established the HEART Fund in response to the tragic events that occurred on September 11, 2001. To honor this twenty-year anniversary, the WMU Foundation set a goal to grant 20 HEART Fund grants throughout 2021. A total of 25 HEART Fund grants have been approved this year for a total amount of $256,014.00. This is the largest total amount and total grants that have been given in a single year in the 20-year history of this fund. Overall, 154 grants for a total of $844,764.00 have been made from the HEART Fund since its inception.

Thank you so much for helping us make grants like these possible. While we do not celebrate the cause for the needs of these grants, we are thankful that an impact is being made for those facing tragedy and crisis.

A few sad stories became stories of hope in Louisiana this past year thanks in part to HEART Fund grants. In early December, Janie Wise and Carolyn Fountain from Louisiana WMU presented checks from the HEART Fund to Rev. Bobby and LaKeisha Williams from Next Level Church and Philip and Sandy Vandercook of Global Maritime Ministries to aid in disaster relief efforts following Hurricane Ida.

“We enjoyed the opportunities to visit with Pastor Bobby and LaKeisha Williams at the New Orleans Association pastor’s and wives dinner and enjoyed breakfast with the Vandercooks at one of their favorite places in New Orleans. The fellowship was sweet,” said Janie. “Thank you for your love and care to these two centers and especially these two pastors.”

The Vandercook family has long been a friend of the maritime workers, seamen, and seafarers in the New Orleans port and up the Mississippi River. Hurricane Ida damaged the sites at both Port of New Orleans and at Reserve upriver, north toward Baton Rouge.

Philip Vandercook was overwhelmed by the gift, knowing that as the deductible is covered, other plans can be put into place so that Reserve center in particular can open. Work at both sites continues; although the building is not available at Reserve, ministry also continues as team members are allowed to board the boats and talk, share, and pray with the seamen.

Janie Wise and Carolyn Fountain present a check from the HEART Fund to the Vandercook family.

“I visited with Pastor Bobby and Mrs. LaKeisha at Next Level church on Thursday, December 2,” explained Janie. “The damage is still quite evident. Walls have been gutted and ceiling tiles removed to reveal rafters. Pastor Bobby explained the roof damage was caused by water and wind from Hurricane Ida as it set over the area for about five hours. The loss of the roof enabled water to move and settle in walls and rafters.”

Upon receiving the check, Bobby said, “Restoration can now begin.” Janie noted that his statement had a double meaning. “Restoration not only of the buildings but also of the soul! These storms tear away much more than brick and mortar.”

Janie Wise and Carolyn Fountain present a check from the HEART Fund to Bro. Bobby and LaKeisha Williams.

These are just two stories of how your gifts to the HEART Fund made an impact this year. We are grateful that you have been helping make a difference in the lives of so many through disaster relief efforts for the past twenty years.

“It is a poignant reminder of the tragedy that will exist in this world until the Lord returns,” said Bob Cardinal, chair of the WMU Foundation board of trustees. “At the same time, it is a reminder of the faithfulness of God’s people. “

Thank you for your faithfulness to give when others are in need.

You can visit wmufoundation.com/disaster-relief to learn more and to give a one-time or monthly gift.

View a list of all 2021 HEART Fund grants here.

Zachariah Seanor

Director of Mission Advancement